Is the Ultrahand the best cooking utensil EVER?
Before Nintendo become a powerhouse in the videogame market they were primarily toy makers in Japan. One of the many toys released in those days was the Ultrahand, an extending arm that can conveniently grab anything from afar. While Nintendo's toy making days are long over they still pay tribute to their humble beginnings in the form of parodies and tributes in their titles. Grill-Off with Ultrahand is one example of this.
Available only for Club Nintendo members, Grill-Off with Ultra Hand is a very simple game. The object of the game is to grab as many pieces of meat as possible without dropping them or letting them burn to a crisp. If one of these two things happens the game is over. Timing is of the essence in this title. For a split second the meat will be "just right". Grab it and the points will be higher. If you grab it before or after the points will be lower. Timing is also important in that the more "just right" pieces of meat you grab the better the combo will be.
In order to deliver an experience as realistic as possible, Grill-Off features motion controls that emulate the mechanics of the original Ultrahand toy. The Wii Remote and the Nunchuck serve as the Ultrahand's handles. Moving both together will make the Ultrahand stretch and close. While at first it took me a while to get used to the controls, once you have them down pat it becomes second nature and even fun. Like the core gameplay, timing is important when you are opening and closing the Ultrahand. The quicker you act the better your performance will be.
Grill-Off with Ultrahand features two main modes: Single player and two player. Single player acts like an endless arcade mode. You keep grabbing the meat while the difficulty keeps rising. As soon as you drop a piece of meat or let it burn the game is over. The higher the level you reach the more points you will accumulate. Like a classic arcade title you can then enter your initials and display your highest score. Two player mode has the exact same mechanics, except now you are competing against another player. The player with the highest score at the end of the game wins.
And that's Grill-Off with UItrahand in a nutshell. The lack of substantial game features turn this into a novelty mainly hardcore Nintendo fans will appreciate. But despite its lack of depth the gameplay is quite polished and the controls add to the frenetic fun, making it a perfect game to enjoy in very short gameplay sessions. The visual presentation is also very minimalistic but filled with a lot of Nintendo charm and color.
Overall, Grill-Off with Ultrahand is merely a novelty that should provide brief moments of fun. But at a mere 80 Club Nintendo coins, it is an enjoyable piece of Nintendo memorabilia that old school Nintendo fans should appreciate.